Don’t Let Your Ego Disrupt Your Success
The word “ego” conjures different images for different people. Many consider it a negative trait, signaling arrogance or condescension. Others, however, may think an ego necessary to succeed in business. They associate it with confidence and assertiveness. (Sometimes the difference comes down to whether we’re talking about our own ego or someone else’s.)
Entrepreneurs tend to engage in a lot of confidence-building exercises. We might read inspirational quotes by our heroes or repeat positive mantras. These are great practices! Yet, when we constantly work at cultivating a mindset of success, we can begin to confuse confidence with ego. It’s good to consider what ego really means, because it actually holds us back more than we may realize.
Ego Vs. Confidence
Cy Wakeman, contributor to Forbes, explains it like this: “Unlike confidence, the ego operates out of self-interest. It seeks approval, accolades and validation at all costs in order to be seen as ‘right.’ It is resistant to feedback and assigns motive where there isn’t any.”
Confidence encompasses the big picture. As such, it allows you to see both your strengths and your weaknesses. It clearly shows you the value of your strengths. And, it assures that your weaknesses need not hold you back. Instead, a confident person knows they can learn new things and grow in the areas they need to grow.
When it comes to others, confidence lets you see their good qualities, too, without envy. This is crucial when you start a company and need to build a team. You want to assemble a group of people with complementary strengths, who are willing to learn from and teach each other.
How the Ego Gets in the Way
Letting the ego take control prevents us from functioning as part of a team. A person driven by ego will jealously guard their own knowledge and ideas, fearing to share them. Meanwhile they will miss out on opportunities to learn from others.
Furthermore, the ego inhibits us from asking for help. Admitting you can do everything is a big part of growing your business. While you might start a business on your own, you eventually must reach out to others.
On a related note, the ego gives us false confidence. False confidence leads to bad decisions. Again, here is where you can miss out on learning new things from those around you. When you’re first starting out in business you can benefit from the advice of others. Learn who to trust and listen accordingly, but don’t miss out on valuable advice because your ego gets in the way!
Do an Ego Scan Today
If you haven’t already, take a strengths assessment of some kind. Get an objective picture of what you’re best at. Then notice if your ego is trying to distort the results. Think about what you tell yourself when you make choices about how to interact with others. Consider how open you are to learning.
Whether you’re just thinking about starting a business or already a seasoned entrepreneur, keep an eye on your ego. Don’t let it disrupt your success.